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Heath Hotzler, Published April 18 2009

Wahpeton track standout Smith has Division I football options

Wahpeton junior Ryan Smith has always been a track and field guy.

It’s in his genes.

Smith’s father, Randy, was a track athlete at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. Ryan’s older sisters, Kiki and Allie, both ran at the University of South Dakota after standout careers with the Huskies.

“My sister, Allie, says all the girls go for football players not track guys (in college),” said Ryan, who won the 200-meter dash and finished third in the 100 during Friday’s MAA Invitational at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

No worries. This kid’s got plenty of options.

Ryan received an offer Wednesday night to play football for North Dakota State. He’s also been offered a football scholarship by the University of North Dakota.

So the track and field guy is quickly turning into a running back that happens to run.

And, as you might expect, he can run fast.

He’s was clocked at 10.7 secondslast year in the 100, and 22.20 in the 200.

Smith, who this season ran for more than 2,000 yards for the Wahpeton football team, opened the season with a 10.9 despite an error that had him running on a 104-meter course.

“He’s a guy who will be in the hunt for a state championship in the 100,” Wahpeton boys track coach Curtus Kretchman said. “I think it’s definitely possible for him to be in the top three in the 200. … Ryan is a hard worker. He comes to practice and he’s focused. He’s probably the best 100/200 guy I’ve ever had.”

Smith has drawn comparisons to former Bismarck High and University of North Dakota football standout Weston Dressler. Like Smith, Dressler never let his diminutive 5-foot-8 frame stop him from excelling in track and football in high school.

Dressler was named the Canadian Football League rookie of the year last season.

Smith said he has his sights set on Dressler’s state record of 10.44 in the 100.

“I look up to him big time,” said Smith, who is listed at 5-9. “He’s a small kid who went on to do unbelievable things.”

For the meet results, see Scoreboard .

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com